After a spate of recent hate-driven shootings in the U.S., law enforcement officials are searching for a way to gather vast amounts of data from social media companies including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more. The only problem is that this real-time surveillance goes directly against Facebook’s privacy policies — and many advocates are concerned that the FBI could easily overstep its bounds.
“This proposal invites dragnet surveillance that history shows will disproportionately harm immigrants, communities of color, and activists, and it invites profit-seeking firms to violate Facebook and Twitter rules designed to keep users safe,” ACLU attorney Matt Cagle told CNN Business. “Treating social media users like suspects won’t make us more safe, but it will make us less free.”
Of course, this is a tricky issue. If officials have any hope of proactively stopping violence before it occurs, they need some way to monitor for signs online. However, it’s doubtful anyone is comfortable with the government having blanket access to our private data, either. Even U.S. lawmakers, including a bipartisan group of senators, are troubled by Facebook’s control over our information — a stance tht directly contradicts the FBI’s wishes. In other words, no matter how this plays out, Facebook is in a no-win situation.
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